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banding problem with AE lens flare

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Anhtu Vu
banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 6:49:34 am

Just finished a logo for a client using the lens flare that's bundle with AE. Final comp is output to 10 bit uncompressed and animation, i notice some banding. There must be something better. Suggestions ??


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:05:38 am

Are you working in a 8 bit project or 16, or 32? What version of AE?

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Anhtu Vu
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:24:20 am

I'm using AE CS5, Comp setting is:
Preset:HDTV (1080_29.97), 1920x1080, square Pixels, 29.97, resolution=full.

Project setting is 8 bit / channel

it's odd that there's no 10 bit / channel setting

i have the working space setting to none, should i change it to HDTV_REC709 as it's going to broadcast ?

Thanks for your help.



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Cory Petkovsek
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:56:49 am

If your comp is 8-bit, then you are exporting 8-bit; even if it exports to a 10-bit codec. Use a 16-bit comp and export 10-bit. It's not odd, 2^3=8, 2^4=16. 10-bit is "odd".

Are you viewing on a 10-bit monitor (high end lcd, or broadcast crt)? If it's a regular LCD, it's probably 6-bit. If it's a quality IPS panel, it may be 8-bit. So even though your colors may fit in 8-bit, if you have 6-bit, your monitor will be banding.

Yes you should be in rec709 working space or the color space of your calibrated monitor, and export with rec709. Otherwise your colors may be off.

If you have an 8-bit monitor or better and you fixed the above and it still bands, you may need to add grain to the whole comp, or "add" or "color" (layer mode) a very subtle gradient (4-color gradient) masked off where the lens flare is to give it more color to work with.

Cory

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Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 8:47:50 am

I would ad to what Cory suggested that you should experiment with 16 and 32 bit project settings in AE. Sometimes 32bit will give better results when it comes to gradients, glows and lens flares. You can export then for 10bit from AE and you should be ok as far as banding goes.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Walter Soyka
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 1:46:34 pm

In addition to Tudor's and Cory's notes, I'd add that the Animation codec is 8-bit. No matter how you set the project bit depth, it will get squashed down to 8-bit if you use the "Lossless" output module preset.

I know from your other posts that you're an FCP and Smoke user, so either ProRes Quicktime movies or DPX sequences might be good candidates for preserving your bit depth in your workflow.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Anhtu Vu
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 3:40:41 pm

Thanks so much guys for the advice....

I'm using a broadcast Sony multiformat 14L5 and a Pannasonic 50VT25 for monitoring.

I have a couple more questions:

1- I believe i can change the project bit depth at any point during my workflow, is it preferable to work in 8 bits, for speed sake, then change to 16 or 32 bits only when it's time to output ? I also assume that this method is only suitable when you are using only AE project with self generated elements ( text, lens flare, particles...) and not importing footage since imported footage will be conformed to the project setting, correct ??

2- Have any of you tried/used the RedGiant knoll light plug ins ? Is it better than the ones bundle with AE ??

Thanks again



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Walter Soyka
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 7, 2011 at 4:17:59 pm

[Anhtu Vu] "1- I believe i can change the project bit depth at any point during my workflow, is it preferable to work in 8 bits, for speed sake, then change to 16 or 32 bits only when it's time to output ? I also assume that this method is only suitable when you are using only AE project with self generated elements ( text, lens flare, particles...) and not importing footage since imported footage will be conformed to the project setting, correct ??"

Yes, you can change at any time, but no, you shouldn't work at 8 and then change to 32. Floating point (32 bpc) calculation drastically affects the appearance of glows, blurs, and blends. Any look that you spend time on at 8 bpc could look totally different at 32 bpc.


[Anhtu Vu] "2- Have any of you tried/used the RedGiant knoll light plug ins ? Is it better than the ones bundle with AE ?? "

Yes, I prefer either Knoll Light Factory or Optical Flares to the stock lens flare effect. The stock lens flare is very limited, and it's an 8-bit effect.

Demos for both KLF and OF are available, if you want to try them out yourself.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Todd Kopriva
Re: banding problem with AE lens flare
on Feb 10, 2011 at 12:12:34 am

Walter, Cory, and Tudor have given you good advice regarding color bit depth. Here's a page with more information, including a link to this video overview of color bit depth in After Effects.

Color management was also briefly touched upon in this thread. Here's an overview of color management, and a video introduction to color management.

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Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Technical Support for professional video software
After Effects Help & Support
Premiere Pro Help & Support
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